Jared Lee Loughner, accused of shooting U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial today in a U.S. courtroom. In addition, U.S. Marshals were forced to drag Loughner out of the courtroom after he exhibited an angry outburst.
The courtroom was filled with family members and survivors of the shooting when the ruling and outburst occurred. Loughner screamed out loudly words that were mumbled but sources say sounded like, “Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.” It wasn’t readily apparent what exactly he was talking about but those words surely struck the families of victims to the core.
The judge presiding over the ruling was U.S. District Judge Larry Burns. Two mental health professionals also evaluated Loughner and believe that he suffers from schizophrenia. Judge Burns’ declaration of Loughner’s mental incapacity means that Loughner will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months with the hope that he can mentally improve enough until he understands the case against him. If after the specified amount of time, he is still not mentally ready to stand trial, the time can be extended for an unlimited amount of times.
Some victims are not surprised by the judgement and say they are comfortable with it, reports Yahoo News:
At least three survivors of the Tucson attack attended the hearing: Giffords aide Pam Simon, who was shot in the chest and right wrist; Eric Fuller, who was shot in the knee and the back; and retired Army Col. Bill Badger, who is credited with helping subdue Loughner after a bullet grazed the back of Badger’s head. Fuller said he is comfortable with the judge’s incompetency decision and wouldn’t be bothered if Loughner spends the rest of his life in a mental health facility. “You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that the boy is disturbed,” Fuller said.
Do you think Loughner should serve jail time or stay in a mental facility?
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